by Alycia Ramirez
Since the death of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer, there have been continuous protests resulting in the nation finally realizing the racial inequities baked into our justice system — especially in law enforcement. Even here in our own Emerald City, white Seattleites are now beginning to see what Black and Brown communities have been pointing out for decades: police brutalize people of color with impunity, and often without consequence, and we throw hundreds of millions of dollars at “arresting away” crime instead of investing those funds back into communities.
Continue reading OPINION: SPOG Head and the SPD are Waging an Old Propaganda War Against Protestors and the Left to Thwart Accountability
by Sarah Stuteville
I did not know Summer Taylor. And Seattle is a small town at its heart, so I knew them the way I sort of know everyone here through a few degrees of separation — a housemate who worked with them at a doggy daycare, a shared neighborhood, the unconfirmed possibility they helped my flea-bitten cat a few months ago.
I did not know Summer Taylor. And the internet is a strange hall of mirrors where we reflect each other in tricky ways that can feel like “knowing.” Summer jokes about parkour in a grainy video, smiles gleefully up to the left corner of our phone screens and dances the Cupid Shuffle on I-5 free of the terrible knowledge we viewers hold — that there is a car speeding toward them just a few minutes out of frame.
Continue reading I Did Not Know Summer Taylor, But I Know Their Power
Reflecting on CHOP, one Seattleite says we should sift our memories and “speak of it in terms of a sacrament and not a eulogy.”
by Matthew Bennett
At the beginning, you could walk right up to the intersection at 11th Avenue & Pine Street.
I had to check again, but it was early June when the police stopped a march for George Floyd and others at that intersection by the East Precinct. The protest occupying part of Capitol Hill swelled and shrank with the setting of the sun and the waves of tear gas. When the police abandoned the East Precinct on June 8, organically (so they claim), the protest grew to occupy both the park and about six city blocks. The first infrastructure arrived as relief tents for food and water and medics. The first protest art came with the rattling of spray cans. After what many feared was attempted vehicular homicide (an entirely reasonable fear), the protesters dug in further and erected barriers for safety. My first recollection of the name Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone is seeing it scrawled in marker on a road barrier. Continue reading Reflecting on CHOP: Resistance Between Memory and Imagination
by Erica C. Barnett
(This article originally appeared on The C is for Crank and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Monday morning, city council president Lorena González and public safety committee chair Lisa Herbold said they were both briefed last week by police chief Carmen Best on what the chief had previously described as “credible threats” to the Seattle Police Department East Precinct in early June, and that the chief described the threats as generalized threats to government buildings in cities up and down the West Coast rather than a specific threat to bomb, burn down, or otherwise damage the East Precinct. Best cited the alleged threats in June as one of the reasons police needed to keep protesters away from the building using tear gas, pepper spray, and eventually physical barricades in the area that became known as the CHOP.
Continue reading FBI Says There Was Specific Threat Against East Precinct; Durkan Letter Dodges Protesters’ Three Demands
by Seattle Black Collective Voice
A man had been murdered by the police. A heartbreaking video of the killing had made it to the internet. Thousands watched as a policeman kneeled on George Floyd’s neck, while Mr. Floyd begged for his life in vain.
Like protesters across the country, Seattle took a stand against police brutality only to experience more police brutality firsthand. Even non-protesters were harmed by the Seattle Police Department’s (SPD) negligence. On Capitol Hill, tear gas entered people’s homes and businesses, and the police did not care.
SPD voluntarily abandoned Capitol Hill’s East Precinct, and the neighborhood tone changed to one of collaboration. In a city physically divided by wealth and class, people came together around a common goal: ending police violence against the Black community.
Continue reading OPINION: CHOP Not the Beginning, and it’s Not the End
by Elizabeth Turnbull
Following the early morning sweep of the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) on July 1 by the Seattle Police Department, protesters say their movement will not dissolve along with the space. Continue reading “CHOP Is Not Disbanded. CHOP Was Not the Building.” — Protests Set to Continue
by Erica C. Barnett
About 10 hours after Seattle police officers moved in to remove barriers, tents, artwork, and people from the Capitol Hill Organized Protest area Wednesday morning, Mayor Jenny Durkan, police chief Carmen Best, and other department heads called a press conference to explain their actions. Continue reading After Sweeping Protest Zone, Durkan Says City Will “Memorialize” Protests, “Reimagine Policing” In Seattle
by Sarah Stuteville
A few days ago, while walking home from the “CHOP” (also known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest) I stopped to talk to a neighbor, who in turn introduced me to her Boomer-age mom, who was visiting Seattle from a rural area of Washington State.
“You all gardening?” I asked, sucking air through the thick fabric of my face mask. “Actually … we just got back from the … CHOP. My mom wanted to see it,” my neighbor answered with the halting uncertainty many Seattleites use to describe this anarchic organism of a protest that has drawn fire — literally and figuratively — from everywhere.
I turned to the white, gray-haired woman in her plum-colored fleece and Costco sneakers — looking all the world like the star of the next “Karen” video on Twitter. I braced myself for what I assumed would be her pinched disdain for the grime, the chaos — the unfocused, raw wildness of these four blocks that just a few months ago symbolized ground zero for a gentrifying “new Seattle.” A neighborhood where million-dollar condos and cavernous breweries battled it out with the “old Seattle” of non-profit art spaces, low-lit gay bars, and church-basement AA meetings.
I was glad the lower half of my face was covered when I asked her politely, “What did you think of it?”
Continue reading Bless This (Revolutionary) Mess
(This article was originally published on the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog and has been reprinted under an agreement)
24 days after clearing the building and evacuating the area following weeks of anti-police protests, the Seattle Police Department swept into the area around the East Precinct early Wednesday and cleared the protest zone that has formed in this core neighborhood of Capitol Hill under an executive order from Mayor Jenny Durkan.
The 30-minute operation created a wide perimeter around the 12th and Pine building with streets cleared of campers and protesters and police reported taking some into custody but meeting little resistance. The Seattle Police Department says it arrested 31 people “for failure to disperse, obstruction, resisting arrest, and assault.”
There were no significant injuries reported. Around 6:30 AM, SPD said that a woman was reported going into labor on the east side of Cal Anderson Park.
Police said officers “enforcing today’s order” were wearing “a higher-level of protective gear.”
“Police are utilizing this equipment because individuals associated w/the CHOP are known to be armed and dangerous/may be associated with shootings, homicides, robberies, assaults & other violent crimes,” the update read.
SPD was also investigating reports of vehicles circling the area with officers reporting individuals “with firearms/armor” inside. The vehicles also did not have visible license plates, SPD reported.
Continue reading Under Durkan’s Executive Order, Seattle Police Sweep in to Retake East Precinct and Clear Capitol Hill Protest Zone
by Elizabeth Turnbull
In the early morning of Saturday, June 20, following two shootings directly outside of the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) barricades, fire department safety protocols and the pleas of volunteer medics and bystanders collided.
At 2:19 a.m., bystanders called 911 after a young adult male was shot on 10th Avenue and East Pine Street.
Following the gunshots, protesters began clearing the street in front of Rancho Bravo restaurant in order to allow potential Seattle Fire Department (SFD) medical vehicles to enter after hearing confirmation, by monitoring live fire department dispatch communications, that a medical vehicle was coming to assist the victim, according to David Lewis, a fixture at the Seattle protests who was on site the night of the shooting.
“Everyone was clearing the way for all medical staff continuously,” Lewis told the Emerald. “Of course we want — we needed the medical staff, we needed them to be here and with that confirmation we were clearing all cars, all people.”
Continue reading CHOP Protesters Pleaded for Help and Received None